8 Things to Consider When Building a Screened-In Porch

Mariel Loveland
Written by Mariel Loveland
Updated April 21, 2022
Smiling woman on screened-in porch
Photo: Mark Edward Atkinson / Tracey Lee / Getty Images


  • A new screened porch costs an average of $2,000–$2,800.

  • Materials will impact the price, look, and maintenance of your porch.

  • Certain features, like heaters or shades, will let you use your porch year-round.

  • Pick a purpose, location, and design style before you get started.

  • Consider how your porch will fit with your existing space.

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

If you’re looking to make the most of your outdoor space, you’re probably choosing among a porch, deck, or patio. But only one option lets you enjoy the great outdoors without being totally outdoors. Enter: the screened-in porch. 

A screened-in porch is an ideal outdoor living space. Like a regular porch, it has a roof, but the difference is that the sides are enclosed in mesh, which protects you from the elements (whether that happens to be a summer storm or some pesky mosquitoes). This project can be a large undertaking that requires a building permit, but it can also be well worth it. Before you start, here are eight things to consider when building a screened porch.

1. A Screened Porch Is an Extension of Your Home

One of the biggest benefits of a screened porch is that it is only a few glass panels away from being a sunroom. In other words, if you’re building a porch from scratch, you’re pretty much planning a home extension. It just happens to be a partially sheltered outdoor living room—so you should treat it as such. Choose elements and materials that go with your home’s existing style and architecture. You want your porch to blend in rather than feel like an afterthought. 

2. The Obvious Location Isn’t Always the Best

When you think of a screened-in porch, you might automatically think of building an addition behind your house. Though that can be a great place, it’s not always the best location. Consider how your porch will function with your existing rooms and the rest of your property. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I want my screened porch to be the focal point of my home?

  • Will the door placement block the flow of traffic? 

  • Will the roof block out crucial natural light?

  • Do I want a porch near my kitchen to use as an outdoor dining room?

  • Which side of my house has the best view?

  • Which side of my house has the most privacy?

Choose the location carefully. The last thing anyone wants is a new addition to become an expensive annoyance.

3. Figure Out Your Design Vibe

It’s time for a vibe check. Before you start your project, figure out your ideal design scheme. Screened porch designs run the gamut. Some people might want a cozy porch with nods to a cottagecore style, while others might want to sip sweet tea on a porch that pays homage to old Southern estates. Not every idea will go along with your home’s architecture, but you can consult a local interior designer to help you choose. Search for design inspiration online, and nail down your vision before you start.

4. The Functionality of Your Porch

Screened-in porch
Photo: pics721 / Adobe Stock

How you plan to use your screened porch will help you determine the ideal size. Do you want an outdoor entertainment space? Are you looking for a modest seating area? Should your porch double as a dining room? Depending on what you’re looking for, you may only need space for a couple of outdoor chairs, or you might need enough room for a whole dining table. 

5. Not All Materials Are Equal

When you’re building a screened porch, there are a lot of materials to choose from—whether it’s for your floor, roof, or ceiling. These materials matter. They greatly impact the following:

  • Cost of your screened porch

  • Maintenance requirements

  • Overall look

Something like a beadboard trim or wooden ceilings can add character, but it comes at a cost. Other options like composite flooring are affordable and low-maintenance. You may want a tile porch floor, so it’s easy to clean muddy paw prints. A local porch contractor can help you determine which materials work best for your project.

6. Screen Types Matter, Too

 4 porch screen types listed, including fiberglass, extra-fine fiberglass, metal, and vinyl-coated polyester
Photo: Kwangmoozaa / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Did you know screens aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal? There are several different types of mesh for your porch screen, and each has its own pros and cons. You may want to consider:

  • Fiberglass: soft but resistant to rust and corrosion

  • Extra-fine fiberglass: the benefits of fiberglass with extra visibility

  • Metal: sturdy but prone to rust in humid climates

  • Vinyl-coated polyester: strong enough to withstand cat scratches, but thicker so it doesn’t provide the best visibility

You can also add on motorized shades, curtains, solar shades, and other types of window treatments to control the light and your level of privacy. 

7. Consider the Climate

Depending on your climate, you may need additional features if you want to use your enclosed porch year-round. A ceiling fan will boost air circulation, which is important during the warmer months. Retractable solar screens can help reduce heat and protect your furniture from fading in the summer sun. If you want to use your porch in the winter or fall, consider adding a heater and removable glass screen panels for warmth. An extra porch light will help when the sun sets early. 

8. Plan Your Budget

Screened-in porches aren’t cheap, but they don’t have to be expensive either. The cost of a screened-in porch is usually between $2,000 and $2,800, but there’s a vast range. It’s a lot more affordable to screen an existing porch, whereas a large porch with a custom design and high-end features can easily cost more than $10,000. Set a realistic budget before you start your project. 

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.